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   Returning to the hall, the hustle and bustle of the ball reached her ears at once.

"Oh, there she is! Where did you go?"

Janet, who was probably looking for Ortansia, soon approached with a trot.

"I'm sorry, Janet. I got a little drunk on people, so I went out to enjoy the night breeze."

"Yeah, it's definitely a crazy place. But because of that, they have the latest fashion trends and it's educational. Oh, have you seen Emily? She was very enthusiastic in her approach."

"Wow, that's amazing...!"

Victor's words from earlier echoed in Ortansia's head as she responded to Janet's rapid succession of stories.

  "...The cult group that kidnapped you so long ago seems to have recently resumed their activities."

The gruesome scene she saw at that time resurfaced in her mind and she felt her blood boil.


'A cult that worships demon gods... I knew it, danger is approaching my brother...!'

 "...Ortansia, your family is in danger. The demonic god's evil hand is already closing in."

 ..."The Demon God is after your brother. He is plotting to take over him and plunge the world into darkness once again.

The words of the goddess were true.

It seemed  that the demon god is after Gerard. Without Ortansia's knowledge, he had already begun to extend his evil hand.

'I must protect my brother. But…'

Remembering Victor's words again, Ortansia let out a small sigh.

 ..."You may have heard this from your brother too, but be very careful."

Ortansia had never heard from Gerard that the cult group in question was active again. If Viktor had heard about it, there was no way Gerard would not have known about it.

Even so, he must have been concerned for Ortansia and decided not to tell her.

The concern of an older brother, which usually makes her happy, now makes her irritated.

'Brother, I'm sure he's trying to carry the load alone again.'

In contrast to those around her who were dancing and chatting to the elegant music, Ortancia's expression clouded over.

Concerned, Janet whispered to Ortansia

"Ortansia-sama, you don't look so good, are you all right? If you are tired, you should rest somewhere."

"I'm fine! Oh, Emily is back!"

"Oh, that's true! I'm going to ask her what happened with that gentleman!"

'If the demons are resurrected… it's not just my brother. Everyone will be in a mess, and I'm sure we won't be able to see this kind of scene again'

Ortansia never thought she was special. But the goddess entrusted Ortansia with her power.

'I, too, must work harder ......!'

Stroking the Tyrol around her neck, Ortansia took a deep breath.

She then put on a bright smile and came to Emily's rescue as Janet poked her.


It was long after midnight when Gérard returned to the Duke's mansion that night.

"Welcome home, Mr. Gerard. Lady Ortansia has already returned to her room and gone to bed."

"...No one was asking about that."

Gérard inwardly clicked his tongue at Lucien, who greeted him even though there was no need to and dutifully reported matters that no one had asked him about.

"No, I was wondering if you were worried about your sister, Master Gerard. However… I'm sure you know everything about the young lady without the need for me to report it to you."

Gerard clicked his tongue this time at Lucien, who said so with a chuckle.

The actuality was that he was right. Gerard had secretly infiltrated tonight's masquerade ball and was watching over Ortansia.

"I heard that Prince Victor also attended tonight's masquerade ball as a surprise. Perhaps he even met the young lady as well," Lucian said, clearly trying to provoke Gerard.

Gérard felt almost murderous toward Lucien, who said something that rightly irritated him.

He was right, Prince Victor had disguised himself and approached Ortansia.

If he had done anything to Ortansia, he would have come to her aid immediately, but Ortansia made it through that situation alone.

She had confronted the prince without Gerard's help.

That also irritated Gerard.

Ortansia's growth should have been gratifying. However, in a corner of Gerard's mind, there was an ugly possessive feeling that he wanted her to be dependent on him forever.

Furthermore, Prince Victor gave Ortansia information that Gerard had been keeping from her.

He did not know how much the painful experiences of the... past had hurt Ortansia.

Gerard just wanted to protect the peace and quiet of Ortansia's life.

And yet, why did everything keep getting in the way?

Everything was so frustrating, he couldn't stand it..

"I think it may be time for the... young lady to leave the nest."

Gerard glared at Lucien, who was smirking and laughing merrily.

Gérard spat, "Shut that unpleasant mouth of yours right now."

"Oh, excuse me. I suppose that was not a desirable topic for you, Lord Gerard."

He was afraid of what he might do in his frustration if he had to deal with Lucien any longer.

He was sure to be pleased with Ortansia's growth.

But he would rather… She remained a small, pathetic Ortansia than let her leave his hands.

In his mind, he replayed the image of Ortansia and Viktor that he had just seen tonight.

Immediately, a gloomy feeling welled up from deep within his chest, and Gérard bit his back teeth.

He looked up and saw stars twinkling in the night sky outside the window. 

As he gazed at the beautiful twinkling stars, without knowing what was going on in Gerard's heart, he suddenly remembered the time when he and Ortansia had looked at the stars in the territory before.

…"Please don't forget, big brother. We are only half and half. We have to enjoy both happiness and sadness together."

She had said that at the time.

But he couldn't imagine sharing only the ugly emotions swirling in his chest with her right now.

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